Greek communists make noise

Originally Published: August 28, 2004
Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece -- Just hours before U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell was to arrive in Athens on an official visit, Greece's communist party early Saturday displayed a large banner at the site of the ancient Acropolis protesting his trip.

"Powell killer go home. Don't forget that civilians are being slaughtered in Najaf and a wall is being built in Palestine," read the banner, which was raised on one of the sides of the Parthenon that sits atop Acropolis Hill.

"This is a symbolic protest to oppose Powell's visit here during the Olympic Games," Antonis Skylakos, a Communist Party member of parliament, told The Associated Press. "We believe that we express the majority of the Greek people in opposition to Powell for crimes committed in Iraq, Palestine and elsewhere in the world."

The party was gearing up for a protest of Powell's visit with a rally that was to begin in front of the old campus of Athens University in central Athens and end at the U.S. Embassy.

Powell planned to meet with Premier Costas Caramanlis and attend the closing ceremony of the Athens Olympics on Sunday night.

On Friday, riot police used tear gas to disperse about 1,500 anti-globalization demonstrators from reaching the U.S. Embassy to protest Powell's visit.

Police rushed to the Acropolis on Saturday as a handful of party supporters guarded the banner and passed leaflets in English to tourists visiting the ancient site. Police did not intervene to take the banner down.

"We will ask that the banner stays up for as long as Powell is here," Skylakos said.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press